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Events to Mark Darwin`s 200th Birthday Next Year

Posted February. 19, 2010 22:52,   


Next year marks the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his masterpiece, “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection.” The book is considered a milestone work in human history along with Karl Marx’s “Das Kapital” and Sigmund Freud’s “The Interpretation of Dreams.” In contrast to the heavy criticism of Marx’s and Freud’s theories in the modern era, Darwin’s theories have been enjoying unwavering popularity and applied to an increasing number of areas.

“Evolution or God, natural selection or divine intervention? Almost 200 years after his birth, the debate over Charles Darwin’s origin of our species still rages,” said Time magazine in a recent article. Jang Dae-ik, professor at Dongduk Women’s University, says Darwin’s theories have never been as popular as they are today, saying his evolution theory has been applied to most academic studies, including philosophy, psychology, medicine and economics.

Numerous commemorative events will be held next year. Appalachian State University in North Carolina has begun to present a series of lectures on Darwin since last week called “On the Origin of the Origin." Thirteen distinguished scholars will deliver lectures through April next year.

The Natural History Museum in London will hold “Darwin, Big Idea, Big Exhibition” from October through March next year. Starting Feb. 10 next year, the Toulouse Museum in southwestern France will have a celebration week and hold a symposium on “Evolution and Medicine.” A considerable number of films, documentaries and TV series about the 19th-century genius will also be released. Jeremy Thomas, the producer of the Oscar-winning film “The Last Emperor,” will start filming the much-anticipated movie “Creation” at the end of the month. “In this age of raging debate about natural selection and creationism, I think it is a very timely story to tell,” Thomas said. Peaceful rapprochement is building up between evolutionists and creationists, as Christians are moving to shed new light on Darwin’s achievements.

The Church of England issued an apology Sept. 14 for having misunderstood Darwin’s work. “Two hundred years from your birth, the Church of England owes you an apology for misunderstanding you and, by getting our first reaction wrong, encouraging others to misunderstand you still,” it said.

The Vatican has also joined the action by teaming up with the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. Pontifical Gregorian University of Rome will hold the international conference "Biological Evolution: Facts and Theories" from March 7 next year. The academic conference will honor Darwin’s wish to have a discussion from a scientific point of view while avoiding ideological positions, said a Vatican official.

Korea will also hold a series of commemorative exhibitions and publications. The Darwin Forum, consisting of philosophers and biologists, is revising the translation of Darwin’s three classics, “The Origin of Species,” “The Descent of Man,” and “The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals.”

Gwacheon National Science Museum, which opens Nov. 14, will hold a Darwin exhibition to commemorate its opening in Gyeonggi Province. The event will be jointly held with Dong-A Science and display Darwin’s publications and fossils he collected for six months.